Terry Gilliam, the man who experienced “Brothers Grimm”, “Twelve Monkeys” and “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, premieres in Portugal a film that has been on his mind for a long time, based on Cervantes’ hero.
“This version of Don Quixote is really about a modern man who, when he was a young film student, made a beautiful film about Don Quixote using local people from the village. And now, years later, after selling his soul to make money by making money advertising, returning to Spain. Now a woman living with a Russian oligarch, she is rich but unhappy. becomes the story of our main character, director Toby, being punished for misusing his talents.
I know the production of the film has a long history about the production of the film, I don’t know that is already passed on to you or gives importance to the whole process, but I read somewhere that Terry Gilliam the film really put his health at risk, because in The last phase of production will have been filming with the doctors getting out of their clothes. What actually happened?
Well, there’s a documentary that was made about us filming the movie “He Dreams of Giants”. Now, this documentary is a fake drama, received, because I was having problems, during the filming, with my ability to put in a catheter. I was not in good health, but I would never worry about surviving the film, which is what the documentary is about. Well, he survived. It wasn’t exactly like that. And I think catheters are very useful, because then when you’re out of a bag and you’re looking for a place to pee, you don’t have to worry, you just sit in the chair, and the bag chair fills up. So there are a lot of benefits to having medical issues during filming.
Those who saw it say that this movie has fairy tales, like in the “Brothers Grimm”; a hero’s journey as in “Brazil” or “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, and parallel timelines as in “12 Monkeys”. My question is, was it deliberate to bring in features from your previous films?
No, I haven’t thought about anything I’ve done in the past I’m working on a new movie, I’m just getting or possessed by an idea in the time of Don Quixote, and trying to find a way to tell that particular story. It can elements that are a result of what I went through in reality, but I’m not doing it consciously. Maybe it’s subconscious. But I’m just trying to tell the story as clearly as possible. That’s basically critics who have to write something, so they invent these links to my past, but that was my intention.
But it’s always one of his intentions to make people think about seeing his movies. Can we say that today’s cinema is full of films that don’t make people think?
I think today’s one wants to make people feel once and feel comfortable, showing how the same things don’t imagine, don’t surprise, don’t provoke is really what happens nowadays. And that, to me, is disappointing. I want to go to the movies and be surprised, see something in a different way, see the world in a different way than I saw it before I saw the movie. I don’t feel like that happens, neither do I anymore.
Says movies are made to make people feel comfortable. It is this same atmosphere that prevails in public discourse about political correctness and so on…
I think it’s all connected in that sense. Political correctness is something you really despise. It’s like limiting a conversation. If you limit the conversation and the words and the things that are said, you are limiting thought and thought processes. As if people aren’t just willing to compete now; they all hide behind their particular prejudices and say that the world is wrong. And it’s an unfortunate moment, I think people were afraid to say what they really think they’re afraid of offending someone. I don’t think it’s anyone’s big problem. It’s a bigger problem to be afraid to speak up. Honestly, that’s what I think.
In an interview, Terry said something like: I was tired, a white man, of being interviewed in the world for everything that is wrong. Is that kind of mentality that still prevails?
No, what I said was specific, there was context. The context was that the day before this interview, the new head of comedy programming at the BBC, said in England that they would not be programming, like Monty Python, projects with six whites. We are now in diversity. So I was at a press conference in Germany, and they asked me about it. So I said, ‘Frankly I’m tired as a white man of being made amends for everything that’s gone wrong in the world. From now on, please call me Loreta. I am a black lesbian in transition. That’s diversity. Thanks’.
Which does not mean that certain realities need to come to light. Yes. In order for there to be a debate about them…
I don’t want limits as possibilities of ideas; I want things to expand rather than contract. I feel that these days, as people take sides, they become smaller and smaller tribes, who only agree with their own view of the world. My attitude is that there are a million ways of looking at and perceiving the world. And I want you to determine that, period.
Is that why you called the Me Too Movement “witches’ pants”?
I honestly felt it was becoming a witch hunt. Because I’d gambled it all a little crazy. I don’t like mafias, and I have a certain mafia mentality that was going on in Hollywood at that time. And there were, I think, quite innocent men who were being brought down for it. I think there were a lot of bad guys out there too, Harvey Weinstein and others who got what they deserved, but there were others.
And… I remember what a friend said, an actress I worked with years before and she called me and said, “Do I agree with what you’re saying, Terry?” And I said: Well, you, as a woman, have to speak. I cannot, as a man, say more. And she said, “I’m too scared to speak.”
This made me very nervous. Because people are too much talking and saying that society really believes, our whole society starts to fall apart, because society is about all these different people with different views of the world, different ways of perceiving the world. And they should feel comfortable enough to say what they think we can dispute, so… we can get into a discussion about that. That’s good, it’s healthy.
When you look at the current political landscape in the UK, does that inspire you anyway?
Inspires me??? No! The interesting thing is that Portugal has just become devoted to a socialist government. While the rest of Europe is getting more and more to the right, Portugal is being unique and different. That’s why I like Portugal, without thinking I’m different from the rest of Europe over time. And there’s something about it that inspires me. England used to be like this England is not like this anymore. You are following the same way of thinking about things as everyone else in the world. I just want people to be confident or right and wrong. Thank you very much. This was my political statement for this week!